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Sleep problems?


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I'm on Day 7 of my Whole30, and for the past 5 or so nights, I've been having a really hard time falling asleep (takes me an hour or more) and staying asleep (I wake up probably 3x per night). Here is the background:

1. I ate a fairly SAD diet up until 27 days ago. That's when I started eating "paleo" meals, except for two things: I didn't watch for added sugars in things like BBQ sauce or sausage, and I ate M&M's every.single.day. A LOT of them. It was kind of a stepping stone process for me.

2. Then I started my Whole30 on August 1, and have not had ANY form of sugar since then. I've been following ISWF's guidelines as they're laid out - no sugar in any form (no processed meats, no condiments - I've been making my own from Well Fed, the only thing I drink is water, etc.). I've also taken out fruit (doing the 21 day sugar detox on level 3) - this is to help with my sugar cravings.

3. A normal day for me would be: breakfast - eggs scrambled in coconut oil and a bit of clarified butter & steamed or roasted veggies (roasted in olive oil, usually). Lunch: A homemade salmon cake with the tartar sauce from Well Fed, roasted or steamed veggies (a lot of them). Dinner: some sort of meat & veggie combo (homemade soup, steak, chicken, etc.). I eat until I'm satisfied, then stop. I don't get hungry between meals, so I don't snack.

4. Supplements: 800 mcg folic acid, 350 gram milk thistle, 200 mg magnesium citrate (before bed), around 2000 iu vitamin d3 (liquid form from NOW foods).

5. Workouts: I generally do yoga/pilates 3x/week (about 40 minutes or so each time), plus a prison workout 3x/week (around 10-15 minutes, 3 sets of squats, pushups, wall sits, planks - done right after the other).

I haven't been drinking more water or eating more veggies than I had in my previous 20 days before my Whole30 - the *only* change has been cutting out sugar. Is that enough to cause sleep problems? I am disappointed because during those first 20 days (when I was eating sugar), I was sleeping so well finally. Now to go back to this is really sad.

Also, I sleep in a dark, cool room and I've started making sure I turn off the tv/computer/excess lights about 30-60 minutes before bed.

Wondering if anything jumps out at anyone for what I might be doing wrong, or if this is just part of my body going through changes it needs to go through? Sorry for the long post.

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April, it's a little to early in your W30 to tell, tbh. Blood sugar issues could definitely be messing with your sleep and pulling ALL sugar out of the equation could definitely be causing it. How's your starch intake? Your normal meals look light on starch. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets?

So it's either because your body's panicking from no fruit, no starch, no nothing, or it's something that you're body will work through in the next week or so. Personally, I don't really like the no fruit protocols, especially during the summer months when it's all in season, but if your starch intake is sufficient, then carry on.

You may also be doing too much activity without the carbs to support it.

Not a lot of definite answers here, but those are just my thoughts

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Your meals sound fabulous...Mmmmm!

I agree with Renee, your body may simply need more time to adjust, and/or your carbs may be a bit too low.

Based on what I have read and experienced, I suggest that you try making your breakfast and lunch more protein and fat focused, and make your dinner more carb focused, but go easier on the fat and protein. You will sleep better this way.

Protein is energizing. Carbs are calming when they come from clean sources. When you eat carbs in the evening without much protein the amino acid tryptophan has a better chance of crossing the blood-brain barrier and helping you relax. So don't be afraid of a nice roasted sweet potato in the evening.

Try increasing to 400mg of magnesium citrate in the evening. B vitamins should be taken in the morning.

Sleep deprivation is the worst. Sorry you are going through it.

Best of luck!


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Thank you both so much - I hadn't thought of it as a possible carb issue. Probably the only really starchy veggie I eat would be carrots - they usually find their way into one meal a day in some form. I thought about using Fit Day to try tracking my food for a day or two to see where I end up on carb intake, but honestly that's a slippery slope for me (eating disorder background); plus it kind of negates the entire purpose behind my Whole30. I'll try adding in some sweet potatoes and/or squash and see how I feel - especially since I am working out regularly now.Maybe doing the 21 day sugar detox (pulling out fruit) isn't the best idea right now? I was eating fruit with breakfast before (mostly berries or stone fruits), so maybe I should try that again.

I'm not scared of more fat, but for some reason I'm kind of scared of "starchy" veggies...years of dieting "thoughts" are hard to undo, I guess! All the more reason to stick to a whole foods diet!

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this was all helpful for me to read. I'm only on day 5 but the past 3 nights have been rough sleep as well. I'll just wake up and my body feels irritated. it's like it's saying, "you're going to take sugar away from me? oh yeah? how about I keep you up tossing and turning all night? you like that?!?!"

haha. hopefully things will turn around for you (and me). :)

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